Example poetry

‘South Asian Muslim devotional poetry’ honored at IBA session

The Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts of the School of Economics and Social Sciences of the Karachi Institute of Business Administration organized a session titled “Muslim Devotional Poetry of South Asia” at the main campus.

The event included the recitation of NAATs written in Urdu, Persian, Sindhi and Punjabi. IBA faculty and students recited devotional verses by famous Sindhi poet Maulvi Ahmad Mallah and famous Urdu and Persian poets including Mir Taqi Mir and Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib.

The highlight of the event was a special appearance by naat-khwaan Zara Madani, well known for her regular appearances in Coke Studio Pakistan and the movie ‘Khuda Ke Liye’. The audience was moved to hear Ms. Madani’s Surah Rahman qirat and enjoyed her hauntingly beautiful original compositions and recitation of the famous Urdu devotional verses, “Lauh Bhi Tu Qalam Bhi Tu” and “Taazim Se Leta Hai Khuda Naam-e-Muhammad” by Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Khwaja Muhammad Akbar Warsi respectively, and the Punjabi verses ‘Main Lajpaalaan De Lar Lagiyaan’ by Abd us-Sattar Niyazi.

Other Urdu poets whose naatiyah verses were recited at the event include ‘Nushur’ Wahidi, Kunwar Mahendra Singh Bedi ‘Sahar’ and Najmunnisa Munawwar Ali Bukhari ‘Najm’. IBA students Hamraj Singh, Muhammad Ahmad and Syed Ghazi Haider Zaidi also recited naats in Sindhi, Arabic, Persian, Braj Bhasha and Urdu.

In keeping with the spirit of honoring original contributions in the field of devotional poetry in praise of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), IBA SESS lecturer and poet Syed Muhammad Baqar Mehdi Rizvi, who teaches literature and psychology in Urdu, presented examples of his own naatiyah shaairi. His work was acclaimed by the audience, as well as by Ms. Madani, who then took the stage and expressed her appreciation for Mr. Rizvi and his fine contributions to the field of Urdu poetry as a young poet in Karachi.

Adding to the creative spirit of the evening, IBA SESS speaker and literary translator, Mrs. Zahra Sabri, who had organized the event, presented her own English translation and recital of the famous Persian naat ‘Haq Jalwah-gar zi Tarz-e Bayan-e of Ghalib. Muhammad Ast’ and commented on how the devotional poetry of literary giants like Ghalib and Mir is often overlooked by devotees who tend to know only their traditional ghazals.

Ms Sabri, who teaches Indo-Islamic history and Urdu literature at the IBA, also spoke of the importance of Muslim female poets in the field of South Asian devotional poetry. She explained how the long-standing tradition of female milads inside private homes historically provided a training ground for the recitation and appreciation of devotional poetry, and how the naats and hamds written and composed by women in such contexts constitute important material for literary research, forming some of the earliest examples of women’s contribution to the field of Urdu literature.

The literary session honored the spirit of the holy month and ended with an iftar for the participants.

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